When did you start playing tennis and what drew you to the sport as young kid?
I started playing tennis when I was 6 years old, i got taken along to watch my sister play. Watching her inspired me to play because it looked really fun.
Andre Agassi quoted that "In tennis you're on an island. Of all the games men and women play, tennis is the closest to solitary confinement....” Tennis is one of the few sports that when your out there, your out there on your own just you and your thoughts, with no coaches, no teammates (outside of doubles) no nothing. Is their a certain attitude or mindset you take in to each game you play given that your success depends almost solely on you?
Staying positive and being relaxed is a big key for me. I find if I can do those couple of things I can really get in the zone out on the court and play my best tennis.
Is this 'solitary confinement' of tennis something you revel in or do you sometimes wish you could just pop over to the players box and seek some advice from your team?
The 1 on 1 battle is the reason you play. Trying to work everything out for yourself on the court is what makes the game so beautiful. You don't want to be asking someone for answers during a match because that's probably not going to end well. You have to just keep your head down and get stuck in.
What has been the highlight of your tennis career so far?
Obviously winning my first round at Wimbledon after coming through 3 tough matches of qualifying. Winning that first round match the way I did 14-12 in the 5th set was an unbelievable feeling.
Can you describe it was like to achieve that hurdle of qualifying and then win in such an epic?
I was overwhelmed with excitement, all the years of doing the hard work on and off the court felt like it finally paid off.
Explain to an outsider what life is like on the tour when your not a Roger or a Novak (yet!).
It can be very difficult for some players. If you aren't getting the results and not getting any financial support its tough. You are constantly traveling to lower level tournaments around the world which are not always located in nice areas, and if you aren't winning it sucks.
What has been the toughest point in your tennis career so far?
I'd have to say the toughest point in my career was when I tore all the ligaments in my right ankle during a challenger match in Korea. I was 22 and just starting to play really good tennis and then that happened. Set me back 6 months which was devastating.
What was your mindset when that occurred and how did you persevere to become the successful player you are today?
Injuries happen to every single athlete in sport, I addressed the situation and just made sure I managed my ankle as best as I could to prevent any further damage. Doing the little things well over time made me stronger and it certainly helped me in the long run.
Often there are so many people behind the scenes we never hear about. What sort of influence has that behind the scenes coaching had on helping you get to the level you are today.
Yeah guys like Wally Masur have helped me a great deal growing into the player I am today. The experience wally has and the knowledge about the game he has is phenomenal. With him giving me feedback and putting me through practice sessions really helps improve my game.
Have you had any influential coaches, role models or mentors throughout your football career whose words or actions have stuck with you when your standing between the posts in crunch time?
Wally Masur has been the main mentor in my career.
Is coaching something you'd be interested in doing post playing?
Yeah potentially I wouldn't mind helping out young aspiring juniors transition from the junior to senior game. I feel my knowledge could really help them.
What’s next for Matthew Barton and his Tennis career in 2017 and when can we expect to see you on the podium?
In 2017 my big goals are to try and qualify for the remaining grand slams. Obviously doing it at Wimbledon again would be fantastic but being able to qualify at the French open and US open is something I'm really striving for.
For the aspiring tennis players out there battling away in the confines of the white lines do you have any advice or words of wisdom on what it takes to make it to the professional level and compete against the best in the world?
Persistence is key. It's not going to happen overnight, you aren't going to wake up a superstar. It's years of hard work and dedication and that's something every single aspiring athlete can take on board with them.